Ask Robb: Prices for Mediterranean Vacations Are Out of Control—Where Should My Family Go Instead?

Welcome to Ask Robb. At Robb Report, we’ve assembled a crack team of the world’s best travel specialists, our Travel Masters. Their expertise and insight in luxury travel of all kinds is unparalleled. So we’re tapping into it directly for a new series, where our readers—that’s you—pose the pickiest travel problems to the panel. These aren’t workaday issues, whether wrangling a refund or booking a guide, but rather the unique, specific challenges that only veteran globetrotters face.

Dear Robb Report: I couldn’t quite believe it when I asked my travel specialist to price out our usual Mediterranean getaway for this summer. I knew prices would be higher than before the pandemic, and it’s not that I can’t afford it, but I refuse to believe that a basic room at a five-star hotel is worth $2,700 per night in Capri come July or August. I’m now regularly seeing rooms costing north of $2,000, and the prices of a suite are even wilder now—we usually need two or three rooms for the kids, and perhaps my mother if she wants to join us.  But what can I do? Are there other destinations that might offer better value? Or a different way to approach the Med that will mean I feel less ripped-off? I want the same sense of exclusivity and the same scene, but better value for money. Yours, Five-Star Fiona.

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Yes, the prices are now eye-watering in the main Med hot spots, whether the Côte d’Azur, Capri, or Sicily. In part, it’s down to surges in numbers: Sicily was already seeing record-breaking visitors in 2022—up almost 60 percent year on year—before The White Lotus turbocharged interest in the island. The post-Covid surge in spending hasn’t abated among five-star properties and, frankly, most see no reason to not hike rates since there’s little impact on demand. Long term, of course, more people will likely start to feel as you do, noting that the value, rather than the cost, of the room is diminishing, and look for alternatives. You’re ahead of the pack, and we have some ideas to help you.

It isn’t just Italy and France where value for money is hard to find. Prices in Croatia have skyrocketed, too, notes Gary Portuesi of Authentic Explorations—in part, he suggests, because the country adopted the Euro earlier in 2024, an ideal excuse for upcharging. “Prices have doubled there in the past two years,” he says.

 Six Senses Kaplankaya
The Six Senses Kaplankaya offers excellent value with all the Med perks.

One place where the currency languishes against every international exchange: Turkey. Its lira continues to hit record lows against the greenback. In January, for example, it was 37 percent weaker vs the dollar compared with just 12 months earlier. As a result, luxe options remain a relative steal, says Sandy Cunningham of Uncharted, who’s a particular fan of the Six Senses Kaplankaya near Bodrum.

“It has a massive spa, more than 100,000 square feet, and is a great option when we have clients who want to be on the coast,” says Cunningham. (Another destination where luxe is on offer for less right now? Japan, where the yen continues to struggle against the dollar, too—sinking to its lowest level since 1990 a few months ago).

Otherwise, consider swapping out not the destination but the accommodation style, booking a villa rather than a suite or two. These are likely to be better value than a few rooms at a five-star hotel if you’re traveling with children, or some friends.

“If there are six of you, that’s when the value for money kicks in,” says Ileana von Hirsch, of Five Star Greece, who has particular expertise in the villa sector. She notes that her clients are now often staying much longer in the Med than they might have done, say, 10 years ago, booking three weeks rather than one, perhaps.

“It’s all thanks to remote working, so they’re more than  happy to stay, as long as they have good office facilities and satellite internet,” von Hirsch adds. “And for a long stay like that, villas represent even better value for money.”

Emerging islands will offer even better value, of course: Lesbos is a new option for von Hirsch, which she has recently scouted and returned with raves.

“It looks like Delphi, but with nobody there, and it’s under the tourist radar but has an international airport and a huge forest in the middle,” she says. “Lovely properties there would be twice the price in Paros or Antiparos.”

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